If creating a successful brand has to do with more thanMarketing Return on Investment (MROI), shouldn’t agency selection go beyond a simple checklist of pros and cons? What does success look like?
Finding and hiring a creative agency partner is a big task. With so many options out there, finding a perfect fit can feel near to impossible. After all, do you let your appreciation for ‘cool graphics’ overcome the logic of results? Do you fall in love with the account manager that seems to be a perfect match? Does it boil down to who will spend the budget and deliver, so you do not get fired?
A lot goes into choosing a creative agency. Your strategic goals should shape the search, and the options are limitless. You have so many things to think about. Size. Experience. Price. Timelines. Reputation. Location. These factors will take you places, but will they take you far enough? Finding the right fit is crucial. We think you should consider these practices when hiring a creative agency.
1. Finding and Defining
The first practice you want to value is the act of careful examination.
A successful campaign is built with a solid sense of self. Putting yourself out there requires finding and defining your brand. You want an agency that doesn’t try to fill this foundation for you. You want one that works with you to build, identify, and create concrete goals.
You want an agency that acts as a partner.
An agency ought to immerse itself in your business with the same passion you have for success. What are your goals? What are your values and hopes for the future? Let an agency develop these thoughts with you. Overall, outcomes will be better if campaigns are authentically based on your company and what you stand for. Find an agency that wants to discover what you are all about and why. An agency should act as a middle-man between you and success, filling the space with knowledge transformed into impactful messaging.
The collaborative effort between you and your agency will be crucial for planning and success.
2. Planning Before Executing
“He who fails to plan is planning to fail”- Churchill
High-quality content comes from strategic planning and clearly defined goals. Creating content for the sake of having content will get you nowhere. You want an agency that values quality process over speed. The overall success of your brand relies on how well you implemented strategic thinking from the start.
Solid planning involves looking at the bigger picture. An agency with a one-track mind will not be able to provide you with the best strategy. In fact, it will do everything it can to fit you into their box, so their profit margins or billable hours don’t suffer. Stepping back and allowing yourself to see the full picture will allow you to evaluate your history, future, goals, audience, culture, and brand. These are steps you want an agency to walk through with you. After all, looking at the bigger picture will give you better information to build a long lasting campaign.
3. Focus on the Long-Term
Where do you want to go?
Short-term solutions and ‘fixes’ are tangible and exciting, but will they take you where you ultimately want to be? You want to build something that lasts. Brand longevity is created through forward thinking. An agency should work with tomorrow’s standards in mind, not just today’s. For example, and we’re a bit biased, at Borenstein Group, our success is measured by our client’s success- especially in the long-term. Look for an agency that focuses on your success, not their own.
To plan for tomorrow, you have to find an agency that is at the forefront of new trends. An agency cannot prepare for long-term success without a solid understanding of your vertical market and industry. You want people that value new developments and proactively consider how they will impact the future. If you want to build a lasting brand that will survive the market jungle, you should ignore agencies that talk a big game about immediate results.
4. Knowledge of the field
“When in Rome, speak Latin (and do what the Romans do…).”
An agency must know how to take what they learned from you and apply it to the marketplace. An agency should know your industry and how to launch you into the national and global market. For example, if you are marketing a wireless telecom widget, pick an agency that knows the tech industry well and has experience marketing in that field. You want an agency that can launch your brand in new and exciting ways.
5. Team Work Driven by Chemistry
An agency cannot accomplish big, long-lasting things without internal success.
Staff size is only part of the equation. Chemistry. Focus on that. Does the staff act as a team to form tight bonds with each other and the clients? A team with chemistry is better suited to accomplish your goals. When comparing your agency options, look at how their team functions as a whole.
Teamwork really comes into play in a full-service agency. If you can find an agency that works with a team and offers a variety of services, you have hit the jackpot. Hiring multiple agencies for various jobs is unnecessary when you can find one that offers you full service. If you want it all, you want an agency that does it all. Look for an agency that will not only improve your brand through PR but also designs websites and develops a digital strategy. Your end product will be better if the elements of design, strategy, and PR are all overseen by the same agency and given the same care. Consistency is key, and a full-service agency can help you achieve it. A combined vision creates a dynamic and influential brand.
These are just a few practices that we value at Borenstein Group. There is no easy formula for agency selection, but we think these factors are a good start. A good relationship between you and your agency is essential, and looking beyond numbers and lists will help you find an agency that will work alongside you as a partner to help grow your brand and help it to reach its fullest potential.
About The Author:
Victoria Goebel is a senior communications major from Gordon College in Massachusetts. She is currently studying strategic communications at the American Studies Program in Washington D.C while interning for the Borenstein Group.